exchange 2003 free up space

Posted on 2013-06-28
Last Modified: 2013-07-15
I need to free up space on an exchange server.
If I have a user that archives his emails to an archive file (on a local or network drive that is not part of the Exchange drive), the process of archiving emails should remove those archived emails from their OST file.  Will this free up space on the Exchange drive?

Thanks for your help.
Question by:jhillbos
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LVL 43

Expert Comment

ID: 39284987
No it won't, you need to do a offline defrag for getting that free space. check for white space event in the app logs first.

Author Comment

ID: 39285003
Are you talking about the Event 1221?
I have looked at the event and it indicates that it will only free up 20 Mb of space.
I have old mailboxes I could get rid of, but nothing really seems to be helping.
LVL 19

Expert Comment

ID: 39285004
Check the evetn id 1221 which will tell you the white space.
To check the actual white space then you have to dismount the database and check.

Here is the procedure from

To free up space.

Download the emails to PST of the larger mailbox.
Wait for the server to run the maintanance.
The check the white space.
Defrag the database.
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LVL 43

Expert Comment

ID: 39285010
Deleted item retention can also take good amount of space. You can set that to zero and check if that helps to get extra space.
LVL 25

Accepted Solution

Tony Giangreco earned 500 total points
ID: 39285029
The nightly Exchange maintenance process will create white space in the database from email the users delete. After that is done, the database will remain the same size, but have capacity to store more mail.

To real way to reduce the mailstore db size is to run the off-line defrag which takes the old mailstore and crates a new one while leaving out corrupted email in the old mailstore and eliminating any whitespace the old mailstore has.

I ran an off-line defrag a few years ago on an Exchange 2003 server. Before doing it, I had all the users archive or move all old mail into PST files.  The process took 24 hours to run but the new mailstore was 60% smaller which really helped.

Hope this info helps your situation.
LVL 43

Expert Comment

ID: 39285035
Better option is to create new db and move the mailbox. As this doesn't require any downtime for all users and get rid of old db.
LVL 25

Expert Comment

by:Tony Giangreco
ID: 39285140
Yes, that is possible, but I think it requires the enterprise version of Exchange.  It appears the poster has an SBS server which would have Exchange standard which I believe only allows you to create one mailstore.
LVL 43

Expert Comment

ID: 39285155
SBS? oh in that case offline defrag is the option. however i don't see much white space, so according to me offline defrag is also not worth. I suggest to look delete item retention setting first and disable it.

Expert Comment

ID: 39289080
are you using Vm or physical machine for Exchange server ?

i will suggest to increase drive space on top priority instead of archive or move mail box.
LVL 25

Expert Comment

by:Tony Giangreco
ID: 39300145
Have you made any progress?

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